Pain, Lent, and growing

6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

This verse is from 1 Peter, and was mentioned in the sermon where we attended church on Sunday morning. The pastor was starting a new series, and this service was on 3 types of pain. One type was protective, and he used leprosy as an example. If you don't understand the disease, look it up--very interesting. He described the protective type of pain as ' spiritual leprosy'. 
The second type was productive. He use examples of athletes with this --No pain, No gain. He used a quote that went something like, " the amount of training to produce significant results is beyond what the average person is willing to do". This totally made me think of my half marathon training. No one wants to run 5, 6, 5, & 7 miles a week and do cardio one other day. That isn't in many people's comfort zone. The pastor said that the most productive progress comes between our comfort zone & our limit. When you are in the training zone, there is pain. When you are lifting weights, your muscles need to rip in order to grow back bigger and stronger--hence no pain, no gain. We all know James 1:2-3.  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. The Bible says in Isaiah that we have been refined as we are tested in the furnace of affliction. He correlated all this to the process of God melting us in order to mold us.
The third type of pain he described was parabolic. The definition of parabolic is :relating to parabola: relating to, resembling, or having the form of a parabola. Think of St. Louis or McDonalds golden arches.Jesus went through pain. He was persecuted. This pain was not to mold him. This pain was just plain ole' mean pain from the devil. But he used and endured this pain to save us. He turned it around, and He used it for the good. I read many blogs from other mommies. Mostly ( because of the NICU journey) are of mommies with babies and children fighting for their lives. I immediately thought of them. Philippians 3 says, "I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. " There are so many mommies I read about that use their experience to show God to others. As I was listening to the last point in the sermon, I prayed for these mommies. I prayed for the Mcgregor family. One of their twin baby boys went to be with Jesus about 14 months ago. Mom McGregor is now about 23 weeks along, and had an echo cardiogram ultrasound this week on baby #4. She stressed through the trials that their family would continue to prise God through every circumstance. I also prayed for Lucy. She has been diagnosed with a rare from of brain cancer, yet mommy still uses her blog to glorify God & share Lucy's story to help others. You can look through the other blogs I read--I thought of each of these examples( adoption, special needs, developmental delays, deaths, infertility) as he spoke on the last point. They are all so courageously turning around these attacks of the devil to show God's love and witness. They are so strong to me.

Today is Ash Wednesday-- the Christian holiday that marks the first day of Lent. In short, for those that don't celebrate, it is a time of 40 weekdays before Easter that Christians use as a period of prayer, penance, fasting, and self-denial. I wrote a little about it back in 2010 click here to read ;)

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